Jeremy Rodock is a tough horse rancher who strings up rustlers soon as look at them. Fresh out of Pennsylvania, Steve Miller finds it hard to get used to Rodock's ways, although he takes an immediate shine to his Greek girl Jocasta. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
Spencer Tracy was cast as Jeremy Roderick, but was replaced by James Cagney as Mr. Tracy complained and procrastinated about working on that location because of the altitude of working in the Rockies. See more »
[Explaining to Jocasta why he felt the hanging was necessary]
I tell ya' Jo, it's the only way. It's FEAR that keeps men honest. And with that hangin' today, I laid fear like a fence ten feet high, around my property!
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Plenty of scenery emphasises the remoteness and isolation of Rodock's valley. 200 miles from anywhere else, Rodock is the law, there being no-one else to police his horse range. Cagney gives a fine portrayal of the stern stony-heart towards those who cross him or steal his horses, who fails to comprehend Steve and Jo, the ones who represent humanitarian conscience, kindness and mercy.
Because it's partly an emblematic morality tale, we get a few too many long significant looks and widescreen shots to make it look big, but there's a good strong plotline to hold it together. It's not a shoot 'em up, just some rustling wars between neighbouring farmers who hate each other's guts, and some jealousy over the woman, but it hangs together decently enough.
The characters aren't exactly complex, but the actors all turn in better than average performances.
It's a very well-made movie, fairly simple ingredients put together by a really good cook, if very slightly ponderously.
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